The use of funds in the military is governed by the Joint Ethics Regulation DOD 5500.7-R which has been revised numerous times over the past two decades to stay current. The regulation is not always closely followed when it comes to travel in the government as observed in the 2012 when the General Services Administration spent $822,000 on a conference held in Las Vegas for its employees. "Holy cow — what were they thinking?" said one Army logistics supervisor who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media. "Everybody [in my office] is gobsmacked. I'm horrified at what's apparently happened out there." (Medici, 2012) There are areas in the military where the issuance of travel funds have been used as a incentive for soldiers doing their normal duties, but does this fall into the category of abuse of funds?
It is essential that managers and commanders at all levels prevent misuse of transportation resources as well as the perception of their misuse. (Lynn III, 2013) A Soldier could observe the questionable use of funds while in different duty assignments throughout their military career. One issue that a Soldier could find an ethical issue with might involve the abuse of travel funds managed by a unit that might be against the policies set forth from official guidance. Different units in the military are given larger budgets for travel due the nature of their responsibilities and have the ability to manage them with little oversight. A Soldier might observe the unit using these funds for events that could have been conducted at a military installation at no cost to the government. The training conducted, even if necessary, will cost the government more money than required due to the payment of the venue but also the issuance of individual travel orders for all those participating.
The first course of action for a Soldier observing the abuse of government funds should be to report it to their Chain of Command. However, this is not always an option due to the offenders might be in that chain. An alternative would be to contact the Office of Inspector General to report the incident. The mission of the Office of Inspector General is to provide independent, relevant, and timely oversight of the Department of Defense that:
Supports the warfighter.
Promotes accountability, integrity and efficiency.
Advises the secretary of defense and Congress.
Informs the public.
Source (Office of Inspector General)
The Office of Inspector General has dedicated personnel in their department to handle situations of government fraud especially when it is dealing with travel. In 2012, General William Ward, Commander of AFRICOM, was relieved of command and subsequently demoted to Lieutenant General when it was reported he had abused government funds. A report by the Defense Department inspector general found that Ward used military vehicles to shuttle his wife on shopping trips and to a spa and billed the government for a refueling stop overnight in Bermuda, where the couple stayed in a $750 suite. The report detailed lengthy stays at lavish hotels for…